Best Pre-Workout For Running

best pre workout for running

When searching for the best pre-workout for running, there are a couple of specific things you need to keep in mind. Shopping for the best running pre-workout is quite different from shopping for any normal pre-workout supplement. Most trainers who are looking for a pre-workout are usually interested in helping their gym performance in regards to explosive energy and focus. These trainers typically have a 45-minute to 1-hour workout in which they attack the weights or the rowing machine really hard (like Crossfit). That is why most pre-workout supplements are stuffed with ungodly amounts of caffeine, nitric oxide boosters, creatine, and tons of other stimulants.

But runners need something different. If you do High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT), traditional pre-workouts might work well for you. But if you are interested in steady-state cardio or are training for a marathon or triathlon, you don’t want a supplement that is going to give you a burst of energy followed by a crash. You want a supplement that is going to keep you going and keep you focused on your long runs.

With that in mind, the best pre-workout supplement for running is a supplement that isn’t crammed with caffeine and creatine. You need something that is going to nourish your body and support your running, not ruin it by making you crash or feel bloated. I’ve listed five supplements below that I believe are the very best pre-workout supplements for runners.

1. CytoSport Cytomax Sport Energy Drink

Protein for Runners

Now this is a supplement that is really engineered for long-distance runners and is one of the top pre-workout supplements for running. It has complex carbohydrates to fuel your running and stabilize blood sugar. Most pre-workouts have too much simple sugar, which, along with the massive amounts of caffeine, causes the nasty crash. But with Cytomax Sport Energy, there is no simple sugar and there is no crash. You can just keep going and going. It also has an ingredient called alpha-l-polylactate, which helps to prevent acid production in your muscles. This effectively stops lactic acid build-up, better known as the “burn”. It also helps minimize muscle soreness after you’ve worked out, which will help you recover faster. This supplement also has a little bit of caffeine, but not too much (35mg, the same amount as a cup of coffee), and some nitric oxide boosters to help improve oxygen uptake. On top of all that, it tastes great (try Tropical Fruit), mixes well, and makes your running even more fun and rewarding. If you’re looking for the best running pre-workout, you’ve found it.


2. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

Pre Workout for Runners

I’m a very big fan of the Optimum Nutrition company. I think they do great supplements and really care about their customers. They also have one of the greatest pre-workout supplements for running. This supplement doesn’t have the massive amounts of caffeine you find in other pre-workouts. It just has 80mg of caffeine, which is like a medium to big cup of coffee. It also has BCAAs, glutamine, citrulline, antioxidants, NO boosters, and an electrolyte blend. This is great for runners but also great for anyone who wants a pre-workout supplement that isn’t too harsh. This one is great for improving your recovery too, so if you’re training for a marathon or an event that requires daily dedication, this is the pre-workout supplement for you. Get it in the delicious Fruit Fusion flavor.


3. Cellucor C4 Sport Concentrated Energy and Performance

Runners Pre Workout

One of the best pre-workout supplements for runners comes from one of my favorite supplement companies: Cellucor C4. The reason why this is so great for running is because it it’s not too intense but still gives you a valuable boost in performance. It’s got a moderate amount of caffeine along with Cellucor’s C4’s Energy Blend.People interested in sprinting or setting weightlifting personal records are probably going to look past this supplement in favor of something with more kick. But this is perfect for long-distance runners.If you’re feeling a bit tired before your run or you’re having one of those days and you really don’t want to lace up your running shoes and hit the track, just take a scoop of this supplement mixed with 4-6oz. of water about 20-30 minutes before training and you will be a new person! As for flavor, my favorite is Blue Raspberry but I think they all taste great.


4. MusclePharm Amino 1

Runners Protein

You might be hesitant to try MusclePharm and might think me foolish for giving it a top spot among the best pre-workout supplements for running but that’s because you’re thinking of the MusclePharm Assault that you see bodybuilders chugging down on legs and back day. MusclePharm Amino 1 is a completely different breed of pre-workout supplement and is the best pre-workout for running if you’re looking for something without creatine and caffeine and just filled with good nutrients. Amino 1 has 10g of BCCAs with every scoop in a 3:1:2 ratio and also has a load of electrolytes and coconut water to help improve your running endurance, keep you hydrated, and speed up recovery. There’s also a nice dose of citrulline malate, which will boost your nitric oxide levels and ensure smooth flowing nutrients throughout your body. I love this supplement and always drop a scoop of the delicious Cherry Limead flavor into my sports shaker before a long evening run.


5. Scivation Xtend

Best Running Pre Workout

Okay, so there’s no caffeine, no creatine, no nitric oxide boosters. In fact, Scivation Xtend is just a BCAA supplement. But that makes it sound like it’s a bad thing when in actual fact this truly is one of the greatest pre-workout supplements for runners, if not one of the greatest supplements ever (in my humble opinion). This truly is a powerhouse supplement and I recommend it as a must-have staple for runners. I have always used this on an empty stomach for steady state and long-distance morning cardio and it has always helped me a lot. Xtend delivers a research-proven ratio of branched chain amino acids, along with leucine and glutamine, without any carbs or sugar. It improves recovery, makes running easier, preserves muscle mass, mixes easily, and is gentle on the stomach. What more could you possible ask for? It also tastes amazing and is one of my favorite tasting supplements of all time (I recommend Blue Raspberry).This will really helpyou power through a cardio session. It’s also great for when you’re craving candy but have to diet.



Personally, if I was looking for the best pre-workout for running, I would pick up all five of the supplements listed above because each one is perfect for different situations and each one is the best running pre-workout in its own right. On the days you need a big boost, or if you are feeling sluggish in the morning, you will want to have some CytoSport, Optimum Nutrition, or Cellucor C4. On the days when you don’t need a stimulant boost and just need the nutrients that will aid your performance and improve your recovery, I suggest you reach for the MusclePharm and Scivation. They’re all great pre-workout supplements for runners and are sure to take you to the next level.

Make sure to check out the best supplements for muscle recovery after you run too!

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Ben M

I am passionate about health and fitness and like to take care of myself. I have tried a variety of different supplements to help with performance and recovery and enjoy working out.

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